Landmark Supreme Court Cases

  1. McCulloch v Maryland (1819)
    Federal gov't can create a bank, states cant tax it. Upholds supremacy clause.
  2. Marbury v Madison (1803)
    Established Judicial Review. Previously, unclear that courts had power to declare laws unconstitiutional.
  3. Gibbons v Ogden (1824)
    Established commerce clause. Congress can regulate interstate commerce.
  4. Dred Scott v Sanford (1857)
    • slaves = property
    • Didn't have standing in court, could not sue for freedom.
  5. Reynolds v US (1878)
    • Polygamy.
    • Courts respected religious beliefs, but not religious activity thats considered a crime. (9-0)
  6. Plessy v Ferguson (1896)
    "Separate, but equal" is constitutional. Segregation in trains. Sets up legal segregation.
  7. Schenck v US (1919)
    Free speech isn't protected when "clear and present danger." Wartime rights (WWI)
  8. Gitlow v New York (1925)
    Speech is protected, first incorporation case. States must follow freedom of speech.
  9. Powell v Alabama (1932)
    Blacks accused of rape, sentenced w/o due process. Courts established right to counsel for states. (7-2)
  10. Korematsu v US (1941)
    Japanese claimed us govt sending them to camps was unconstitutional. President can violate rights during war. (6-3)
  11. West Virginia v Barnette (1943)
    Students forced to salute flag. Jehovah's witness. Violates students rights (free-excercise), cant force students to salute flag. (8-1)
  12. Everson v Board of Education (1847)
    Private schools reimbursed parents with taxpayer money. law was constitutional, treated all children equally, and served the general welfare by supporting education, not religion. (5-4)
  13. Brown v Board of Education (1854)
    Desegregation of schools, segregation in schools unconstitutional.
  14. Mapp v Ohio (1961)
    Police entered without a warrant. Establishes exclusionary rule.
  15. Engel v Vitale (1962)
    Unconstitutional to have official school prayer in public schools, due to separation of church and state. (6-1)
  16. Baker v Carr (1962)
    Malapportionment. Establishes "one person, one vote." Mandtes census every ten years. (6-2)
  17. Gideon v Wainwright (1963)
    • Not provided an attorney and sent to jail. Required to provide attorney for EVERY case. (9-0)
    • Incorporation/ Due Process
  18. NYTimes v Sullivan (1964)
    Times published defaming story, libel case. Established malice, ruled in favor of Sullivan. (9-0)
  19. Escobedo v Illinois (1964)
  20. Griswold v Connecticut (1965)
    Abortion legal in first trimester. Right to privacy, not in constitution. (1st, 9th and 14th)
  21. In re Gault (1966)
    Gault arrested without his rights read to him. Underage (minors) have right to due process. (8-1)
  22. Miranda v Arizona (1966)
    Miranda rights. Arrested for rape and kidnapping, wasn't read his rights. (5-4)
  23. Loving v Virginia (1967)
    Racial Integrity Act. Court overturned act, interracial mrriages allowed. No race based legal discrimination on marriage. (9-0)
  24. Epperson v. Arkansas (1968)
    Buying books teaching evolution in Little Rock, where there was a ban b/c it conflicted with creationism. Court invalidated law, said states can't prohibit teaching evolution in schools. Establishment Clause. (9-0)
  25. Brandenburg v Ohio (1969)
    "Hate speech is protected" unless it produces action. Must be most likely to produce violence.
  26. Tinker v Des Moines (1969)
    Kids do have freedom of speech unless it disrupts the learning environment.
  27. New York Times v United States (1971)
    Prior restraint. Can the US Govt restrict NY Times from publishing Pentagon Papers? NY Times has freedom of speech, no prior restraint. (6-3)
  28. Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971)
    • Made lemon test, deals with religion. Lemon test is a three prong test to check govt involvement in religious activities.
    • 1. Secular purpose
    • 2. Not to promote/inhibit religion.
    • 3. No excessive govt involvement.
  29. Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972)
    Amish children don't need to attend school after 8th grade, due to the free-excercise clause.
  30. Miller v California (1973)
    • Obsenity not protected unless it passes the SLAPS test.
    • Serious Literary, Artistic, Political or Scientific Value.
  31. Roe v Wade (1973)
    Landmark ruling on abortion. Right to abortion (cultural issues). Based on the precident, Griswold v Connecticut.
  32. US v Nixon (1974)
  33. Goss v Lopez (1975)
    Do students have due process when suspended? Courts ruled you must have a hearing before suspending student, legally follow due process. (5-4)
  34. Buckley v Valeo (1976)
    Campaign Finance Laws. Regulates campaigns and spending. Limits individual contributions and self money isn'r restricted. (7-1)
  35. Bakke v University of California (1978)
    Bakke denied admission based on quota. Courts ruled UC's admission process unconstitutional. (5-4)
  36. Hazelwood v Kuhlmeier (1983)
    School newspapers may be censored. Limits freedom of speech.
  37. Wallace v Jaffree (1985)
    Paid teachers can't lead prayers in public schools.
  38. New Jersey v TLO (1985)
    Random drug tests in HS. Students rights limited in school, administration doesn't need a search warrant.
  39. Allegheny County v ACLU (1989)
    • Creche inside a courthouse is unconstitutional (establishment clause).
    • Menorah outside a county building is constitutional.
  40. Texas v Johnson (1989)
    Flag burning legal.
  41. Oregon v Smith (1990)
    States could deny unemployement benefits to those fired for drug use. Religion doesn't exclude you from laws.
  42. Westside Community Schools v Mergens
    Bible study after school legal, but sponsor can't be paid.
  43. Casey v Planned Parenthood (1992)
    Abortion regulation. Wife doesnt need consent of husband. However, must wait 24 hours, must have parental consent as a minor and you must know the risks.
  44. Lee v Weisman
    Clergy can't offer prayers in public school because forcing children to listen establishes a state religion.
  45. Shaw v Reno (1993)
    Gerrymandering based on race in NC. Establishes Equal Protection.
  46. Vernonia v Acton (1995)
    Random drug testing of extracurricular activities is constitutional.
  47. Virginia v Black (1996)
    Cross burning is constitutional unless done with an attempt of intimidation.
  48. US v Virginia (1996)
    Unconstitutional to have an all male public military school.
  49. Reno v ACLU (1997)
    Communications Decency Act unconstitutional because it's a violation of rights. CDA was meant to protect minors, but restricted adults.
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Landmark Supreme Court Cases
Court Cases